The Design Museum’s latest exhibition invites visitors to explore what our homes today are like through yesterday’s imagination, asking how technology has changed the way we live.
As technology is infiltrating every part of our lives, The Design Museum’s latest exhibition seems especially timely. Home Futures is an extraordinarily detailed and well thought out exhibition that reveals the ways in which inventors and designers of the past imagined our lives to be now and how technology has perhaps changed our perceptive of what home really means in 2018.
When Back to the Future II was released, making all kinds of predictions about what life could potentially be like in 2015, many of the ideas were perhaps over ambitious but just like in this exhibition had some potential in how technology would be designed to make life a lot simpler for everybody.
Throughout, Home Futures weighs up the pros and cons to what designers and architects imagined homes would be like today – including a few references to George Orwell’s 1984 and suggestions that some of the technology is a bit ‘Big Brother’ as shown in Superflux’s short film with technology used so that relatives can monitor other members of their family and what they are eating, their health and sleep. It is moments like this dotted throughout that reveals how dependant we have become on technology and perhaps destroys the sense of comfort that being at home is supposed to bring.
The exhibition also highlights the way in which we are constantly thinking about improving our lives to make things simpler as with clips of the cartoon of ‘The Jetsons’ and The Electronic Tomato designed to help with tasks such as shopping and business operations. But in turn, it does make visitors question about whether the technology that has been designed and used by us today is in fact helping or making us lazy and unable to think for ourselves.
However, there are also designs on display in this exhibition that are also considerate of a growing population across the world and the need to use space wisely as seen with Joe Colombo’s 1963 Mini Kitchen design which is still in production to this day. There are plenty of other objects and designs that are fascinating to see and find out about in more detail, challenging the visitor to expand their minds about what our perception of home is and how the way in which we live is constantly changing – sometimes without us realising.
It is a lively and thoughtful exhibition but can become slightly obsessed with the technical detail that can be slightly overwhelming to read about. There is a lot of attention to detail that is reflected well in the way in which the exhibition has been presented, making for a deeply fascinating and engaging display to visit.
By Emma Clarendon
Home Futures is on display at The Design Museum until the 24th March 2019. For more information visit: https://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/home-futures